The Independent reports April 3 eye-witness accounts that “Military and diplomatic operatives from the US and Western Europe—usually described as experts, consultants and advisers—turned up in the rebel capital, Benghazi. These include UK personnel, among them a former Royal Navy officer who had recently served as a diplomat in Afghanistan. He said he was in Libya as a consultant to the opposition administration.” The word comes as Reuters reports that Tripoli has dispatched deputy foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi to Athens in a diplomatic initiative to end the conflict.
Speaking in Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told the BBC: “We are so keen to save Libya from destruction… we are listening.” But he said Qaddafi’s rule was not negotiable, invoking the threat civil war. “The leader provides Libyan tribes and Libyan population of a unifying figure, as a unifying figure,” he said. “Many Libyans, many Libyans want him to lead the process forward because they are scared if he is not there for any reason we will have what happened in Iraq, we will have what happened in Somalia, we will have what happened in Afghanistan.”
He said the regime is open to political reform—”elections, referenda, anything”—but “the leader has to lead this forward.” Ibrahim said it was not for the West to tell Libya “you have to lose your leader or your system or your regime.”
We agree, but Mr. Ibrahim ironically seems to have no problem dictating to the Libyans who must rule them.
More massacres reported in Misrata
BBC also reports that on April 3, a Turkish humanitarian ship carrying more than 250 injured people from Misrata, the only major city in western Libya still under rebel control, arrived in the rebel capital Benghazi. An evacuee from Misrata speaking from Tunisia said Qaddafi forces in the besieged city have been “massacring” civilians. “Corpses are in the street. Hospitals are overflowing.”
In the eastern front, rebels are trying again to advance towards Brega, with US jets attacking Libyan military vehicles near the citiy.
See our last post on the Libya crisis.